BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jnana Therapeutics, a biotechnology company utilizing its next generation chemoproteomic platform to target SLC transporters and other well-validated but hard-to-drug targets, today announced the closing of a $50 million Series B financing. The financing was led by RA Capital Management, and included all existing investors, including Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures, AbbVie Ventures and Pfizer Ventures.
Proceeds from this financing will enable Jnana to progress its lead program for the treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU) into clinical development, while advancing a pipeline of additional programs and continuing to invest in its innovative and validated RAPID platform for the discovery of small molecule therapeutics for hard-to-drug targets.
“This commitment and support from a strong syndicate of investors will enable the next stage of evolution for Jnana as we advance our broad pipeline of wholly-owned programs to the clinic and continue to expand the application of our platform,” said Joanne Kotz, Ph.D., Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of Jnana Therapeutics. “We believe that Jnana’s lead program offers a differentiated approach to PKU with an oral small molecule, identified using our RAPID platform, that can be used to treat any PKU patient, notwithstanding age or PAH mutation.”
Jnana’s lead program is designed to provide a novel oral approach to address PKU by inhibiting the SLC transporter SLC6A19 that is responsible for kidney reabsorption of phenylalanine (Phe), thereby reducing the elevated blood Phe levels that drive PKU disease pathologies. Based on data from human biology and in vivo experiments in animal models, SLC6A19 inhibition offers a promising approach to provide a profound therapeutic benefit to PKU patients.
“Jnana is pioneering the discovery of small-molecule medicines targeting difficult-to-drug targets, including SLC transporters—a target class that has been highly challenging to drug, yet offers significant therapeutic potential,” said Matthew Hammond, Ph.D., Principal at RA Capital and now a member of Jnana’s Board of Directors. “We are excited about the Jnana team’s progress building a pipeline, including their compelling lead program for PKU, and the ability of the company’s powerful small-molecule discovery platform to drive continued pipeline growth.”
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is required for the breakdown of phenylalanine (Phe), an amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. When PAH is deficient or defective, Phe accumulates to abnormally high levels in the blood. If left untreated, these toxic levels of Phe in the blood can result in progressive and severe neurological impairment and neuropsychological complications. The SLC transporter SLC6A19 is responsible for kidney reabsorption of Phe back into the bloodstream, and the inhibition of SLC6A19 offers a novel approach for the treatment of PKU.
About Jnana Therapeutics
Jnana Therapeutics is a biotechnology company utilizing a next generation chemoproteomic platform to address well-validated but hard-to-drug targets, including the solute carrier (SLC) family of metabolite transporters. Jnana is focused on developing best-in-class therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including immune-mediated, neurological and metabolite-dependent diseases. Headquartered in Boston, Jnana is founded by world-renowned scientists and backed by leading life science investors. For more information, please visit www.jnanatx.com and follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.